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Old 09-23-2012, 05:20 PM   #1
Darkfirewolfe
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13yrs & a PhD: So much to celebrate! Our Disney Extravaganza Trip (Oct 2012-AKL/POLY)

Welcome one and all to Our Disney Extravaganza Trip


THE CAST

IMG_4243 by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr

Myself (Darkfire aka Amanda) and my DH (Julious) from our trip last year.

We adore Disney parks and so far have been fortunate enough to spend our last 3 anniversaries at a Disney park. It's become a tradition for us. This year is our 13th year together and with such a lucky number, we have to do something extra special.

Our favorites:
Favorite Park: EPCOT
Favorite Resort: Polynesian
Our Favorite Dining: Garden View Tea Room
Favorite Snack: Dole Whip
Favorite Hidden Gem: Watching the ducks and the tiny dragons (lizards) at EPCOT
Favorite Ride: Haunted Mansion

I also just finished my PhD back in May and I'm now teaching at a local university. I didn't walk at graduation and other than two really nice dinners, I haven't really done anything to celebrate. My parents gifted us with part of this trip, so that we could do anything we want. I tried to talk them into going with us, but they want it to be for the two of us. So I have my Class of 2012 Mickey ears ready to be customized... .

The Trip:
When?:
October 10th (Wed) - October 18th (Thurs)
Over a FULL WEEK!

Where?:
Split-Stay
1st part - Animal Kingdom Lodge - club level
2nd part - Polynesian theme park view

What?:
Wed 10th - Arrival, Orientation, & Food/Wine Booths
Thurs 11th - Universal Studios to the Wizarding World!
Fri 12th - Sat 13th - Pick a Park
Sun 14th - Sunrise Safari & late night at Hollywood Studios
Mon 15th - Resort Swap
Tues 16th - MNSSHP
Wed 17th - Pick a Park
Thurs 18th - Pack up, Downtown Disney, and head out


Trip FIRSTS
1) First time to the Wizarding World
I want to see Hogwarts for my graduation. Julious has never been to any of Universal Studios and I haven't been since they built the Islands of Adventure. We will also be staying late to see Halloween Horror Nights
2) First split-stay
Usually we don't stay long enough to have two resorts, so this will be new and different!
3) First Sunrise Safari
4) First time eating at the Hollywood Brown Derby & O'hana


My previous trip (and pre-trip reports) are horribly unfinished, but I'm going to stick with this one and maybe even get some LIVE REPORTING this time. So...

I hope you all enjoy the show!



Chapters:
*Our ADRs
* Our F&W Predictions & Must Do's
* Travel Prep #1 - Mousekeeping Envelopes
*

Coming up:
* More Travel Prep
* MNSSHP plans and costumes
* LIVE REPORTING

Last edited by Darkfirewolfe; 09-29-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:26 AM   #2
Darkfirewolfe
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ADR's

Our Current ADRs

I'm trying to get use to this whole concept of concierge. We are staying AKL club-level for the first part of our stay (because we want to do the sunrise safari) and with that comes their itinerary planning. I think it's fair to say that I'm a control freak when it comes to vacation planning so I made the majority of our ADRs. However, when I emailed the concierge, they were able to sprinkle some pixie dust on our plans and get us into the Brown Derby too.

Wednesday
Restaurant Marrakesh
FoodBlog Link
This is J's pick - it's one of his favorites

Thursday
No ADRs - Universal Studios Day
I plan to gorge myself on Butterbeers

Friday
Jiko - The Cooking Place
FoodBlog Link
This is specifically to celebrate our 13th anniversary.
We've eaten at most of the restaurants at Disney over the years and this is where we have eaten the best meal on property. Even if we weren't at the AKL, we would choose it.

Saturday
No ADRs - we're going to play it by ear. There's the F&W booths or we may eat around AK, or maybe, just maybe - we can get in at the bar at The California Grill.

Sunday
Hollywood Brown Derby
FoodBlog Link
This is a first for us. I will be ordering the Cobb salad for sure!

Monday - Resort Swap Day
Afternoon Tea at The Garden View Tea Room
FoodBlog Link
This is one of our most favorite things to do and since our dinner ressies are really late, it will help us have a relaxing day.

Dinner at O'hana
FoodBlog Link
Funny store - we adore the Polynesian, have stayed multiple times, and I even have a Polynesian tattoo, but we've never eaten at O'hana. This will be a first for us.

Tuesday
More Afternoon Tea at The Garden View Tea Room
FoodBlog Link
We always try for twice because it's so much fun. This will also be a nice stopping mark halfway through the day to then prep for MNSSHP.

Wednesday
No ADRs - we're going to play it by ear. There's the F&W booths or we may eat around AK, or maybe order room service - who knows.

Thursday - Checkout Day
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast Buffet at 1900 Park Faire
FoodBlog Link
This is our traditional, last day character breakfast. It puts a smile on our faces to share Mimosas and take pictures with Hatter & Alice. The lobster benedict doesn't hurt either
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:22 PM   #3
Darkfirewolfe
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Our F&W predictions

We love traveling to WDW in October, because it is a time when four wonderful things all come together at the park. First, it is our anniversary and second, it is starting to be fall and thus, the temperatures are much cool. The third best reason is MNSSHP and all the Halloween decorations in the park. But even if October did not have all those things, we would probably still go in October for the fourth thing - the Food & Wine festival!

The 2012 Map


F&WBooths by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr

Must Do's
ARGENTINA
- last year we tried the Beef Empanada and it was delicious. We will need another one of those. Maybe we will try the Beef Skewer too.
CANADA
- the chipotle sausage is always spicy goodness and the new filet sounds amazing!
CHINA
- the pork stickers were fantastic last year, so we will try thing again. We also love Chinese buns, so we will try the new dish this year.
FRANCE
- The escargots are a MUST and who doesn't like fancy mac & cheese?
GERMANY
- MMmmmm, oversized sausage in a pretzel roll....
GREECE
- The Greek booth is a MUST - if for no other reason than to make up for the fact there is no Greece in EPCOT.
HAWAI'I
- I'll poke your tuna. Whoa.
HOPS & BARLEY
-OMG, the Lobster rolls are back!! So tasty!
IRELAND
- This booths main purpose is Guinness.
JAPAN
- We both adore Japanese food, so we will be hitting this booth and the sake bar inside.
MEXICO
- The shrimp tacos last year were spicy and yummy, so I'm hoping they didn't change the recipe.
MOROCCO
- Pita pockets, yeah!
NEW ZEALAND
- I sure hope the lamb meatballs are as good as the lamb sliders because they are always my #1 favorite.
POLAND
- mmmmm, pierogies!




Exciting New's
FLORIDA
- The exotic country of Florida's offering of Ceviche looks tasty
SCANDINAVIA
- I don't know how we missed meatballs last year - but we are getting them this year!
SINGAPORE
- We tried the shrimp cakes last and they don't have those this year, so it will all be new!
TERRA
- I'm actually really excited to try (and thus support) the new all vegan booth this year!


Maybe or Maybe Miss
AUSTRALIA
- Julious said my lamp chops were better last year, so we may miss it. Depends on how good it smells.
BELGIUM
- It is generally too hot for mussels for me.
CARIBBEAN
- We missed it last year too
ITALY
- Love Italian food, just never excited about the booth's offerings
SOUTH AFRICA
- Julious is not a fan of creamy/mashed potatoes of any kind, so we will just have to see. The paneer pockets look good to me though.
SOUTH KOREA
- The mung bean pancake sounds very questionable...and yet I'm drawn to it. I don't know....


LOSSES
Where is Portugal?! Oh noes!


---------------
So what are your thoughts? Anything on our "We can miss it list" that you know is fabulous? Anything on our "We'll try it list" that you know is terrible?
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Old 09-27-2012, 09:09 PM   #4
TMGosizk
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Congratulations on your anniversary, PhD!!!! and upcoming trip to WDW!!!! Just reading your PTR made me excited for you!!

AND you're visiting WWoHP tooooo! We went our last trip in 2010 during Soft Opening and it was amazing!! I really hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Harry's Adventure ride inside Hogwarts is fantastic!! And Butterbeer is yummy (or so I thought personally...it's a bit sweet, so if you like sweet drinks it's perfect!). The Pumpkin Juice was also quite nice...very refreshing! The entire Park there is wonderful! Enjoy it and take everything in! The details are great!

Your ADRs and plans look great!! If you are still thinking about California Grill, I definitely recommend it...we've always had impeccable meals there and it's a "must do" every trip!

Looking forward to more
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My First TR (in progress): Forget the Plans, We'll Just Play It By EAR!
First PTR:Second Star to the Right and Straight on 'Till Morning...to Disney World! Sep2013
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Old 09-28-2012, 02:14 PM   #5
Darkfirewolfe
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Thanks TMGosizk!

I am both excited and nervous about WWoHP and Universal Studios. I tend to be a fairly obsessive planner but the Universal Studios website is certainly not very magical and I haven't been to Universal Studios since before the Islands of Adventure even opened!! This makes me a little nervous - so any tips you can offer will be appreciated! I think I'm most excited about the butterbeers and pumpkins juice - I'll probably drink enough to be sick!
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #6
Darkfirewolfe
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Trip Preppin'

Trip Preppin' 1
Mousekeeping Envelopes

Yesterday was quite productive and in my storm of accomplishments, I was able to make our custom Mousekeeping tip envelopes.


Untitled by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr

These are the ones for our AKL stay. The sticker design is thanks to the incredible MrsHeg and found on this thread. Then I added either the AKL's own envelopes or some sticker & stamping fun if not.


Untitled by darkfirewolfe, on Flickr

These are the ones for our POLY stay. The sticker design is thanks to the amazing ~*~Michelle~*~ and were found on this thread. Then I added the stickers or envelopes.

I use these to leave our daily tips for Mousekeeping if we choose to use Mousekeeping. The last trip was the first time we got some towel animals and I like to think it was in thanks of my adorable envelopes. I <3 TOWEL ANIMALS, so I'm hoping for a round 2!


I want to take a small gift to the AKL concierge since they've been so helpful with my planning. I know I can't tip them or leave them cash (other threads say they can be fired for accepting tips), so I'm going to get something small and yummy. I think I've decided on what - it's just a matter of finding it. Stay tuned....
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Old 10-01-2012, 01:15 PM   #7
TMGosizk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkfirewolfe View Post
Thanks TMGosizk!

I am both excited and nervous about WWoHP and Universal Studios. I tend to be a fairly obsessive planner but the Universal Studios website is certainly not very magical and I haven't been to Universal Studios since before the Islands of Adventure even opened!! This makes me a little nervous - so any tips you can offer will be appreciated! I think I'm most excited about the butterbeers and pumpkins juice - I'll probably drink enough to be sick!
I know what you mean about the Universal site not being magical. I remember getting so stressed out just looking at it last time!

Basically, my advice, since you'll only be there for a day, is make a list of all you and your husband's "must sees" instead of trying to do it all. Are you doing both parks that day or just Islands of Adventure?

If you do both, start at IoA first, especially since HP might take awhile and US can technically be done in about half a day. Definitely start at HP, which is in the very back right of the park. What I, personally, would do after HP, is come back through Lost Continent and Seuss (we skipped this last time since the attractions are more kid-oriented and we did them once in a previous trip), hit any attractions you want in those two areas. Then go over to Superhero Island where The Hulk is and work back around the circle toward HP. A couple of our "don't miss" attractions here is Dr. Doom's Fearfall and Spiderman. There's also the water rides in Toon Lagoon (which are really fun as long as it's warm enough, because you get very wet! We were drenched after riding them last time!) So, if you don't want to get too wet, they can be skipped. Jurassic Park is neat to walk through, but we weren't really impressed with the River Adventure ride there (but that's just us!).

In US, it's easiest to start at the front (the Shrek show is one of our favorites), then go all the way back towards The Mummy ride and work around the circle to the right. Some of the "don't miss" attractions are Revenge of the Mummy, Men In Black, The Simpsons Ride (even if you don't like the show, it's actually pretty fun!) and ET's Adventure.

That's just my advice for seeing the two parks in a day in the easiest way. However, I'm sure there are other ways!

I hope this helped even a little bit, I kind of rambled some! Let me know if you have anymore questions!

Oh, and those envelopes you made for Mousekeeping are a really great idea! I can definitely understand why they are appreciated! So cute!
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TM Hubby-John and 1-year old Laura

I'll Have a New Ticker Soon!


My First TR (in progress): Forget the Plans, We'll Just Play It By EAR!
First PTR:Second Star to the Right and Straight on 'Till Morning...to Disney World! Sep2013
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